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Minister English Announces €2.8 Million Science Foundation Ireland Investment in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths Public Engagement & Education Initiatives

Interim Director of Communications, Niamh Lyons and  Minister for Research, Innovation and Skills, Damien English, TD

  • Investment by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland Supports Ireland’s Ambition to Have the Most Engaged and Scientifically Informed Public.

  • Public Engagement and Education Awards for 42 Projects Across Ireland to Enable Greater Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths to Support Ireland’s Skills Base and Economic Infrastructure, Now and in the Future.

  • Minister English Announces Further Commitment to the Proliferation of Irish Science & Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover awards, Supporting the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs and its Recently Announced Science Strategy, Innovation 2020    

21st January 2016 - Farmleigh, Dublin, IRELAND - The Minister for Research, Innovation and Skills, Damien English, TD today announced details of a €2.8 million national investment in 42 initiatives aimed at engaging the Irish public in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover funding awards. This investment further supports our national aim to have the most scientifically engaged public; breaking down barriers and creating more accessible paths to skill acquisition and ultimately fulfilling careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. Geographically dispersed, it is estimated that these STEM projects will touch 3.6 million people in Ireland by the end of 2017.

Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover funding was awarded competitively following rigorous international review where the STEM education and public engagement projects were required to address how they planned to enable greater STEM understanding and debate or support STEM education formally or informally.  In particular, projects were sought that targeted counties which currently have low levels of STEM public engagement activity (Leitrim, Carlow, Monaghan, Roscommon, Cavan, Louth, Clare and Kerry).  This will address objectives in the recently published science and innovation strategy, Innovation 2020, but more specifically will provide greater opportunities for the Irish public to increase their knowledge of STEM, moving the dial from 49% to 60% of people who feel informed about STEM.

This investment is made by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland’s annual education and public engagement Discover Programme awards.
The 42 STEM public engagement, promotion and education projects funded were across key activity areas:

Maths:  projects that support the enjoyment of maths and enable skills development.  These projects include a national problem solving competition; a programme bringing undergraduate maths students together with post primary students to understand maths; a mobile interactive exhibition exploring statistics through games; a project supporting numeracy skills to make maths more accessible.

Technology: projects that support engaging people with technology and developing digital skills.  These projects include a national competition to develop apps using Central Statistics Office information; a movement supporting girl’s hacking events; a robotics programme; and a programme supporting the community to develop digital skills through the 1916 celebrations.

Broadcast/Film/Print: projects that will connect to a larger audience through print or broadcast media.  Aimed at targeting those not traditionally interested in science, the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme Call makes significant investment in broadcast media for the second year. In addition to our partnership with RTE, this year the programme expands to include a six part travel series with TV3 exploring scientific accomplishments; a six part series with Setanta sports looking at the science behind sport; the support of two science documentaries as part of Galway becoming UNESCO City of Film; and a book series for young people to be distributed with a national newspaper.

General public events: projects that engage the public and young people through events.  These projects include an art exhibition and workshops; a ‘maker fair' where people can explore making technology and art; the science zone at the St. Patrick’s Festival Big Day Out; a project engaging people with renewable energy and how it works; a comedy improv club; a project that engages people in everyday physics through busking at outdoor events; a project engaging local libraries with STEM through interactive art installations; and the Festival of Curiosity, a summer festival celebrating the natural curiosity that is a part of STEM.

STEM informal education for schools: projects that support young people to engage with the subjects and themes of STEM outside of the formal curriculum.  These projects include a centre offering students an opportunity to explore topics such as climate change and energy; a project bringing physics, maths and music together; a primary science fair in Limerick; two projects using technology to bring the research science lab to life in the classroom; a project bringing STEM debate to classrooms and families; a project delivering a range of STEM education experiences using space as a theme; a project exploring the importance of diet and gut health using technology; and a project bringing STEM to disadvantaged young people.

STEM Careers Awareness: projects that support young people and their families to explore and understand STEM careers.  These include projects that support STEM professionals to engage the public with their career story; and a project that supports connecting young girls to STEM role models.

Regional/National programmes: projects that have national or regional participant reach and activities that address the broader purpose of STEM career awareness, supporting informal education and general public events such as national weeks celebrating STEM.  These include national programmes such as the Engineers Ireland STEPS programme and Maths Week; programmes delivering STEM activity to the Cork and Waterford regions; SciFest; and a project supporting third level colleges nationwide to engage communities in their work.

These projects complement current Science Foundation Ireland projects such as Science Week, Smart Futures and work carried out by the 12 Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres nationwide to engage and inspire the public in STEM.

Announcing the funding at an event at Farmleigh House in Dublin today, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Mr Damien English TD said: “The government launched its Action Plan for Jobs 2016 this week and one of our core messages is that we must continue to invest in science and technology to foster creativity and innovation, which will ultimately lead to job growth. The initiatives funded through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme encourage the Irish public to stop and think about how science impacts upon them in their daily lives.  It encourages our young people to think about a career in STEM and it demonstrates to multinational companies considering creating jobs in Ireland that we as a nation are engaged with and committed to excellence in science, technology, engineering and maths. We are thinking globally but acting locally to create a learning environment in communities right across the country.”

Minister English added:From a very low base, Ireland has today become home to nine of the top ten global ICT companies, nine of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies, 17 of the top 25 global medical devices companies, and more than half of the world’s leading financial services institutions. Ireland is now in the Global Top 20 for the quality of our scientific research, and is ranked first in the world for its research in nanoscience, second in computer science and in immunology, third in animal and dairy science, and fifth in materials science.  It is vital that we continue to foster further innovation and STEM industries by encouraging the general public, and in particular our young people, to have an understanding and appreciation of the role of STEM in our society.”

Niamh Lyons, Interim Director at Science Foundation Ireland added: “The 42 projects which received funding today represent the most creative, educational and engaging STEM programmes in Ireland. The initiatives receiving funding were assessed by international experts and selected based on their potential to promote awareness and understanding of the importance and relevance of STEM in everyday life.”

“Inclusivity and accessibility to STEM is a key driver for Science Foundation Ireland and this is reflected in all of the initiatives that have received funding through the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme Call. As well as the basic aim of awareness and understanding, the funded projects also aim this year to extend the reach of STEM influence to people who have not yet been exposed to its benefits; equipping them with the knowledge and tools to either engage, study or work in STEM or more importantly support family members in their career and study choices., continued Lyons.

List of Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme Awards:
A total of 42 projects were approved for funding to a total amount of €2.8m. (* denotes projects with two year funding)

Maths Related Projects

Organisation

Project Title

Website

Project Summary

Target Region

Science Foundation Ireland Contribution

Dublin City University

The Problem-Solving Initiative (PSI)

 

The Problem-Solving Initiative (PSI) will promote STEM career pathways by promoting the key problem solving skills needed for the fields of Technology, Science, Maths, Linguistics and Language. The program aims to expand the reach of the All-Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO), which challenges secondary school students to use problem-solving strategies to unlock the grammar of little-known languages, and to foster a generation of students who have excellent logical thinking.  Students will develop analytical skills that are not only vital for computing and linguistic careers, but are transferable skills that are critical for a range of STEM careers. PSI will provide puzzles to the general public for the first time via a sustained social media campaign to directly increase the general public’s understanding of problem-solving. Dublin will host the family-friendly International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) for the first time, to promote and engage the public for a fun problem-solving day.

National (Areas of low STEM intervention in particular)

€220,000*

University College Dublin

Maths Sparks: Problem Solving Workshops

www.ucd.ie/sparc/MathsSparks

Maths Sparks is a series of six problem-solving Mathematics workshops which attempt to address the issues associated with mathematical education and learning, while also providing STEM undergraduates with an innovative approach to develop their skills as STEM communicators and presenters. The workshops will be delivered to pupils from schools in designated lower socioeconomic areas who are less likely to study higher level mathematics, and will be designed and presented by undergraduate STEM students under the guidance of academics in the school of mathematical science, UCD.

Dublin, Wicklow

€12,656

Lifetime Lab

“Exploristica” Adventures in Statistics

www.lifetimelab.ie

Exploristica - Adventures in Statistics is a new mobile interactive exhibition designed to teach the fundamentals and practice of Statistics and Probability intended for students of upper primary and secondary school (11 to 17 years). Describing five important phases of the statistical process - Select, Collect, Describe, Estimate and Interpret – Exploristica is organised in several modules that present the main statistical concepts in the form of games and other interactive experiences. The programme will focus on areas of data, location and dispersion measures (mean, median, standard deviation), graphs (box and whiskers, bar plots, histograms), random and non-random sampling, relative frequency and probability.

National

€25,000

Kildare Education Centre

The Algebra Project in Ireland

www.eckildare.ie 

The Algebra Project in Ireland is aligned with a number of national priorities; improving numeracy and mathematical attainment, developing STEM subjects and the promotion of activity amongst young people. In addition, it aims to break down the negative cultural concept of mathematics in Ireland. The project aims to support those teachers as they work to incorporate the mathematical Flagway Game and the Road Colouring Problem into their school curricula. Mathematics Literary Workers (MLWs) will be trained in a pilot programme in DCU. These young people will create change in their community by helping children learn mathematics in a unique way.

National

€30,000

Technology Related Projects

Organisation

Project Title

Website

Project Summary

Target Region

Science Foundation Ireland  Contribution

Insight - National University of Ireland Galway

Apps4Gaps

www.apps4gaps.ie 

Apps4Gaps is an All-Ireland competition aimed at encouraging young people to provide ideas and create applications that will demonstrate innovative and fresh ways of exploiting open data freely available from the Irish National Open Data Portal. The competition is open to teams of two to three people from school, colleges, the public and the private sector. Competed projects can be submitted as a concept entry or working app. There are three prizes in each category. The project is managed by the Insight Centre for Data Analytics in conjunction with the Central Statistics Office.

National

€3,500

Insight - Dublin City University

Girls Hack Ireland

www.insight-centre.org/node/134518

Girls Hack Ireland program aims to encourage girls and women into computer science through creative and interactive learning. Girls will learn coding skills, ‘hack’ websites, while using sensors and Arduino boards. The project will bring the fun of computer science to those who have less access to computing initiatives, with the growth of the program in three new locations – Roscommon, Longford and Wexford. With support from their partners Coding Grace, the expanded initiative plans to cater for both parents and children in a number of regional fun ‘Family Hackathon’ events right across the country.

National and Regional (Roscommon, Longford and Wexford)

€43,300

Lifetime Lab

VEX IQ Junior Robotics Programme

www.lifetimelab.ie

With the growing need to enhance STEM subjects in traditional classroom settings through non formal engagement opportunities, there is a demand for integrated learning systems that allow teachers and industry mentors/volunteers to meaningfully engage with STEM, especially in the early and most influential years of a child’s development. The VEX IQ Junior Robotics Programme incorporates VEX IQ robotics with practical learning from industry mentors visiting schools, and includes teacher Continued Professional Development sessions. The project also offers suitable content for participation at STEM public engagement events. The project will be administered and managed by the STEM centre of Lifetime Lab.

Cork, Kerry and Clare

€50,000

Maynooth University

Letters of 1916: Community Engagement

http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie 

Letters of 1916: Community Engagement is bringing digital literacy skills to atypical audiences, including retirees and secondary school students at four locations around the country. The interest in historical sources, particularly related to Easter 1916, has provided the motivation for non-technical audiences to deeply engage with Web 2.0 technologies. The programme will engage with a wider public and join the wide-ranging national initiative to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.  The series of events and activities for 2016 will target some of the lowest STEM engagement areas in the country in conjunction with public libraries, schools and community centres.

Sligo, Kerry and Donegal

€11,900

 

 

 

Broadcast, Film, Print Projects

Organisation

Project Title

Website

Project Summary

Target Region

Science Foundation Ireland Contribution

Tile Films

A Rough Guide to The Future

 

TV3’s STEM based series ‘A Rough Guide to the Future’ will promote science education by broadcasting an exciting six part travel series exploring a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines in spectacular settings. Viewers will be taken on a journey to all parts of the world with locations such as Yellowstone Park and the radioactive wastelands of Pripyat, Ukraine to see what these locations may tell us about the future. Led by Jonathan McCrea, ‘A Rough Guide to the Future’ will bring to life STEM in a fresh new way by matching exceptional locations, with investigative television. At the heart of the series are questions that ask, what will our future look and feel like, and how is science driving this.

National

€150,000

Screentime Shinawil

Peak Performance

 

Peak Performance is a riveting six part educational TV series, profiling Ireland’s great sporting heroes to unlock the secrets of their success through the prism of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). For the first time ever, all official sports governing bodies have teamed up to deliver the definitive story of Irish sport and how high performing athletes achieve their peak performance through the application of STEM in sport. The series aims to entice the audience via their favourite sport to increase the general public’s perception of STEM in society.

National

€30,000

Galway Film Resource Centre

Science on Screen - Galway

www.galwayfilmcentre.ie

The Science on Screen – Galway project aims to increase the level of scientific content in independent filmmaking in Ireland, thereby increasing the general public’s engagement with STEM. The project will promote STEM education and career pathways by facilitating collaboration between filmmakers and scientists, and promote current research being carried out in Ireland among the filmmaking community.  The project will result in a series of workshops and the production of four 15-minute short films for exhibition, followed by an open competition to produce two science themed full-length documentaries/films. This activity will be supported by a series of public workshops addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with Irish science on screen. All films produced will aim to engage the public and raise awareness of STEM and its role in society. Each stage of the project will be evaluated in terms of its impact and level of engagement with filmmakers, scientists and the public.

Connaught

€100,000

University College Dublin

The Scientist’s Apprentice – Irish Independent Book Series November 2016

 

The Scientist’s Apprentice is a series of children’s books showcasing the importance of STEM in today’s society. The book will be distributed nationally through the Irish Independent newspaper and Tesco’s supermarket chain. The series will feature topics such as energy and environment; space and physics; food, health and agriculture; and computer science. The Scientist’s Apprentice series will engage young children and their families intellectually, socially and emotionally through dynamic visuals, intriguing stories and creative expressions of knowledge and information that relates to STEM literary and STEM career pathways.

National

€143,204

General Public Events or Visitor Centres

Organisation

Project Title

Website

Project Summary

Target Region

Science Foundation Ireland Contribution

Lewis Glucksman Gallery

Gut Instinct: Art, Food and Feeling

www.glucksman.org 

Gut Instinct: Art, Food and Feeling is an exhibition of contemporary art curated by Fiona Kearney, Director of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, and Prof. John Cyran of UCC. The exhibition will explore ground-breaking research on the interaction between the brain, gut and food through the medium of artworks and displays. The exhibition stimulates curiosity and invites the general public to consider how our guts and the bacteria within our diets might influence our physical and mental wellbeing. Visitors will also learn the science behind that gut-wrenching or butterfly feeling we all know so well. The ideas and experience of Gut Instinct will be extended into an imaginative season of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths) events including creative kids clubs, lunchtime lectures, schools programmes, family activities, hands-on workshops, art/science dialogues and a public symposium.

Cork

€15,000

Maynooth University

Dublin Maker 2016

www.dublinmaker.ie 

Dublin Maker 2016 is designed to increase the general public’s engagement with STEM and to illustrate its relevance in society. Dublin Maker takes the form of a “show and tell” experience where STEM inventors/makers have an opportunity to showcase their creations at individual booths in a carnival atmosphere. It’s a showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.

National

€50,000

St Patrick's Festival

SFI Discover Zone at The Festival Big Day Out

www.stpatricksfestival.ie/events/event/big_day_out

The SFI Discover Science Zone at The Festival Big Day Out is an Science Foundation Ireland  participate ‘Science Zone’ presented at the St. Patrick’s Festival event on Sunday 20th March 2016 as part of Ireland’s national holiday celebrations. The SFI Discover Science zone will feature an extensive programme of activities that will appeal to children from 3 - 15 years of age. Workshops, discovery shows, quirky displays will be packed into the bustling participate zone. The SFI Discover Science Zone will become a hands-on exploratory centre with on-street performances and theatrics. The scope and diversity of the programme will feature science, technology, engineering and maths activities, with an aim to encourage participants to investigate, explore, design, helping to develop skills and generate interest in STEM, while gaining an appreciation of the importance and impact of science in our daily lives.

National

€33,367

Galway Atlantaquaria

Engaging the public and students with Ireland’s Renewable Ocean Energy

www.nationalaquarium.ie

Engaging the public and students with Ireland’s Renewable Ocean Energy aims to engage members of the public and students with renewable ocean energies. The goals of the project include evaluation of attitudes of the general public, to develop best practices’ in methods for engagement, and increase awareness and knowledge. This will be facilitated through the use of interactive evaluation kiosks; a permanent interactive bicycle powered wave tank; buoy generator and energy devices situated in the tank; and a range of visual, audio visual and information signage. Engagement with students between the ages of 12 – 18 years will be achieved through an ocean energy workshop. The project is also supported by NUIG, GMIT, Galway Science and Technology Festival and Engineers Week Ireland.

Connaught

€24,000

Trinity College Dublin

Bright Club

www.brightclub.org

Described as ‘where funny meets brains,’ Bright Club is a variety night where researchers become stand-up comedians to give audiences a night filled with science infused comedy about their research. Its primary goal is to increase public engagement with STEM research taking place right at our doorstep. The use of humour helps audiences engage with difficult topics, resulting in fresh and exciting engagement, disguised as an entertainment night.

Dublin

€10,500

Dublin City University

Physics Busking

www.physicsbusking.ie

Physics Busking is a leading national STEM education initiative that supports science teachers and researchers to increase the general public’s engagement in STEM. Physics Busking collaborates with leading national festivals and event organisers to bring science demos and activities to the shopping streets, gardens, and fields of Ireland. In addition to this, the project will provide a series of science communication workshops, and has strengthened the annual calendar of Physics Busking events in 2016. Through these efforts, not only will the number of Physics Buskers increase, but those previously engaged will be able to advance their communication skills.

National

€31,642

The Festival of Curiosity

The Curiosity Studio

www.festivalofcuriosity.ie 

The Curiosity Studio brought to you by the Festival of Curiosity, aims to create open and accessible best practices for the design of public engagement activities in Ireland. It aims to showcase Irish scientific excellence both nationally and internationally, with the hopes of placing Ireland as a world leader in the design and delivery of multi-disciplinary public engagement projects in science and the arts on a global scale. World leaders from a range of creative practices (e.g. animation, dance, theatre, design process, and multimedia) are invited to work collaboratively with local artists and scientists on high quality projects that will be showcased at the Festival of Curiosity in Dublin each summer.

Dublin

€50,000

The Festival of Curiosity

The Festival of Curiosity 2016 and 2017

www.festivalofcuriosity.ie 

The Festival of Curiosity is one of Europe’s most exciting and innovative international festivals of science, arts and technology. As the festival embarks on its next business plan, the aim is to directly engage with over 130,000 creating a truly international festival with the calibre of programming to make long-lasting impact on people in Ireland and in the field of science engagement.

National and Regional (Dublin)

€200,000*

Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC) & Tyndall National Institute

The Dissection of Instrumentation- Interactions between Art and Science

www.ipic.ie

The Dissection of Instrumentation is a unique and innovative approach to engaging the general public with STEM and its role in our society, through the medium of art and sculpture. The power of art to connect with audiences of all backgrounds and opinions is hugely influential and allows interaction with groups beyond those typically exposed to STEM. The general public is an enormous potential audience which typically poses challenges for STEM engagement, however by utilizing the connective and emotive aspects of art, the importance and relevance of STEM can be accessible. A travelling exhibition, this project will consist of science-influenced art installations, complemented by seminar talks delivered by the artist and supported by researchers in the Tyndall National Institute.  This project, delivered by the artist Angela Gilmour, will consist of a series of installations which involve the deconstruction of scientific equipment, reducing them to their basic components, and transforming them into three-dimensional dissections. The dismantled components will be displayed in transparent colour-coded resin sheets, allowing audiences to easily recognize commonalities across the various instruments, and even amongst their devices familiar to their own lives. This exhibition is designed to allow the audience to explore their relationship with STEM in a fresh and original way, removing many of the barriers typically associated with public engagement.

Munster

€37,650

Informal STEM Learning for Schools

Organisation

Project Title

Website

Project Summary

Target Region

Science Foundation Ireland Contribution

Brigit’s Garden

Nature’s Power 2: Energy and Environment Education for STEM

www.brigitsgarden.ie 

Nature’s Power 2: Energy and Environment Education for STEM aims to promote and support STEM education by developing educational programmes from the pilot stage to a portfolio of self-financing programmes for 3rd - 6th class primary students and Transition Year (TY) students. The programmes will consist of innovative activities that give students hands-on experience with STEM-related topics in energy and climate change. Nature’s Power 2 will create a unique centre of STEM-related energy and environmental education at Brigit’s Garden that can be used as a template for other centres.

Connaught

€24,000

National Concert Hall

Music and Science: Quadratics to Quavers

 

Why does a violin have its distinctive shape and how does this affect the sound it makes? Quadratics to Quavers offers a novel way to support the teaching and learning of physics, music and maths for primary-level and transition-year students. Traditionally, these disciplines have been treated as individual subjects, but this project will highlight the overlap between music, maths and physics to improve abilities in these subjects while encouraging positive perceptions. The project aims to increase the number of students who take up maths and physics subjects in school. Quadratics to Quavers will be managed by a diverse team who have experience in performance, science and music education, and public outreach from the School of Physics and Education, Trinity College Dublin and the National Concert Hall’s Education, Community and Outreach department.

Dublin

€23,300

Royal Dublin Society

RDS Primary Science Fair Regionalisation

www.rds.ie/primarysciencefair 

The RDS Primary Science Fair is a non-competitive exhibition forum that currently takes place alongside the annual Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in the RDS in January. It involves the participation of 3000 primary school students and their teachers, with a focus on the development of core science and mathematical skills. The fair encourages teachers to undertake STEM investigations with their class during the school year by asking them to pose a question that the class will seek to investigate, developing children’s literary, oral language and numeracy skills. The Fair is underpinned by the RDS STEM Learning programme which seeks to improve science and maths teaching in the primary classroom though a programme of professional development for primary school teachers. The RDS STEM Learning programme has delivered significant measurable impact in the areas of teacher confidence and ability, and student engagement.

Munster

€50,000

CRANN Institute, Trinity College

Science LIVE! – virtual tours of Irish science centres

www.sciencelive.ie

Science LIVE! will deliver interactive online, guided tours of science centres in Ireland to primary school classes. The aim of the project is to give primary children direct access to Ireland’s leading research facilities and scientists, inspiring them to think positively about science careers and the importance of STEM in society.

National

€29,056

University of Limerick

Step into Science:  Engaging Students, Teachers and Parents in Debates

 

Step into Science:  Engaging Students, Teachers and Parents in Debates aims to engage communities of teachers, students and parents in socially relevant (or socio-scientific) STEM debates such as alternative energy sources and genetically modified foods. The key objectives of the project are to facilitate science teachers’ professional development in teaching of socio-economic debates; and to engage students and parents in socio-scientific debates. The focus on socio-scientific issues is intended to provide a motivating context grounded in STEM issues with social significance.

Laois, Monaghan, Kildare and Wexford

€15,000

Science Gallery Dublin

“Going Deeper” at Science Gallery Dublin

www.dublin.sciencegallery.com

“Going Deeper” at Science Gallery Dublin is a programme focused on giving Irish citizens the opportunity to deeply engage with STEM research and researchers through interlinked formal and informal education activities. The project will include the promotion and support of STEM education in Ireland and STEM career pathways through and innovative teacher Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme, with the direct involvement of STEM researchers in the programme supporting the next generation of passionate and inspiring mentors. The project aims to increase the general public’s STEM engagement and highlight its importance in society through a targeted learning programme linked to the Science Gallery’s exhibitions with a strong online component. A new series of workshops, informative talks and seminars will see an eclectic range of researchers, artists, educators, and innovators collaborate.

National

€50,000

APC Microbiome Institute

The Microbiome and Me

www.apc.ucc.ie 

The Microbiome & Me is an interactive and informative hands-on exhibit consisting of touchscreen systems, displaying a graphic and interactive representation of the human body. The main aims of the project are to engage people of all ages on the crucial role of our microbial passengers in our day to day lives. Users can explore how their manipulation of the microbiome directly results in changes to human health, including factors such a stress, diet, use of antibiotics, other medicines and the benefits of probiotics. Users will also have the ability to choose the diet of the on screen host (for example high fat, high sugar, high fibre etc.) which will simulate the expected changes imposed on the microbiota and the resulting positive or negative health effects for the individual.

National

€43,500

Royal Society of Chemistry

Expansion of Spectroscopy in a Suitcase(SIAS) and CPD in Ireland

www.rsc.org 

Expansion of Spectroscopy in a Suitcase (SIAS) and CPD in Ireland is an activity that gives school students the chance to learn about spectroscopy through hands-on activities. The project will widen its reach to host new institutions in areas that are currently without coverage such as Galway, Limerick and Sligo to encourage more school students to see value in studying chemistry and other STEM subjects. In addition to this, the project will further enhance teachers’ subject knowledge, helping to inspire their students with science by providing Continues Professional Development (CPD) courses. Expansion of the SIAS programme and teacher CPD will help support both teachers and students in STEM subjects in Ireland. Through these activities, the project aims to encourage more students in Ireland to study STEM subjects, particularly chemistry, at a higher level and to inspire them to pursue a career in STEM.

Regional

€50,000

CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory)

Driving STEM Learning and Awareness using Space as the Theme

www.bco.ie 

Driving STEM learning and awareness using Space as the theme, employs the inspirational theme of Space to drive a number of targeted initiatives in support of a STEM-engaged society, working closely with Science Foundation Ireland -ESERO. The project aims to inspire primary school children to develop an interest and awareness of STEM through inquiry-based activities that encourage independent thinking. The project also recognises that parents/guardians are role models and have included initiatives which support both family-friendly activities to help parents engage, and which promote STEM careers using STEM professionals with the inspirational setting of Blackrock Castle Observatory. 

National

€200,000*

Learning Hub Limerick

Science Hub at Learning Hub Limerick

www.learninghub.ie/science-at-the-hub

The Science Hub project was conceived as a solution-focused response to the high levels of educational disadvantage experienced by children and young people in North Limerick City. The project aims to increase engagement and participation in STEM among children, young people and the general public. In 2015 the project expanded its service to Limerick city and County as well as several areas in the surrounding counties of Galway and Clare. The project is now focused on expanding its reach to County Clare, which has one of the lowest levels of STEM intervention in the country. The project offers workshops to classes and teachers from primary school to enhance STEM teaching and learning. Resources are then made available to teachers for use in their own classrooms, along with a series of afterschool workshops designed to supplement the Primary Science Curriculum. The programme also runs Science Magic Shows and Sci-Fi movie nights which are open to the public. All programmes are run with the support of third level student volunteers, which are accessed through partnerships with local third level institutions (University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology).  

South West Region

€15,000

STEM Careers Awareness

Organisation

Project Title

Website

Project Summary

Target Region

Science Foundation Ireland Contribution

British Council Ireland

Famelab Ireland 2016

www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab

FameLab Ireland is a nationwide science communication competition to discover the best new voices in Irish science, and to equip them with the skills and confidence required to effectively engage and inspire audiences about STEM.  The project challenges young scientists (aged 18 – 35) to explain a scientific topic to the public in three minutes. Presentations are judged on clarity, content and charisma. Famelab also provides science communication and presentation skills training for all regional heat participants, and a world class science communication weekend master class for the top 10 – 12 young Irish scientists.  The project is a unique initiative which not only entertains and engages the public on STEM, but nurtures an extensive network of young Irish scientists to inspire, educate and engage.

National

€35,850

Gallomanor Communications

I’m a Scientist/Engineer, Get me out of here!

www.imascientist.ie

I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here are two free online events where school students meet and interact with scientists and engineer. The researchers participate in an X Factor-style competition, where the students are the judges and lead the project. Students challenge the scientists and engineers over fast-paced online live chat. They have the ability to ask researchers whatever they want, and subsequently vote for their favourite to win a prize of €500 to fund further outreach. The project challenges stereotypes, where students can relate science lessons to real life, and become more enthused about science. Scientists and engineers develop their communication skills, gain a fresh perspective on their work, and find out what young people think about their job and their role in society.

Regional

€34,000

I Wish STEM

I Wish (Inspiring Women in Stem)

www.iwish.ie 

Greater student engagement is needed to increase the number of students taking STEM related courses and to provide talented workers for the future. Having a role model can be hugely empowering, encouraging them to explore opportunities they might otherwise miss. ‘I Wish’ promotes STEM career options by introducing female students to a wide variety of (local and international) employers and female role models already forging a career path in STEM. ‘I Wish’ aims to inspire and encourage the participation of young women in STEM to 3rd and transition year female students in the Cork and Kerry region, while breaking down stereotypes.

Regional (Cork and Kerry)

€25,000

Junior Achievement Ireland

Futurewize

 

Futurewize will enable professional volunteers from the STEM industries to promote STEM education and STEM careers in a unique and sustainable way. The project will reach over 6,000 students within the junior cycle. As specialists in recruitment, training and support of business volunteers working with students, Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) will maximise the voluntary efforts of over 250 professionals currently working in STEM-related careers to underline the value of studying STEM subjects, and to serve as role models in promoting the range of exciting STEM-related careers. Students will complete five in-classroom modules facilitated by 180 trained volunteers from JAI’s current roster of 160 supporting organisations. In addition, the ‘Smart Futures Career Talk’ will be promoted as a volunteering option among our 160 supporting organisations and 3,000 volunteers. JAI will incorporate Futurewize and Smart Futures in our engagement with guidance counsellors, principals and teachers in our ca. 150 second level partner schools. In conjunction with school leaders, JAI can offer to coordinate information sessions for families to complement the in-classroom work and promote the aims of the programme to an even wider audience.

National

€80,000

University College Dublin

Thesis in 3

www.thesisin3.com

Thesis in 3 is a national annual event where postgraduate students from any research institution in Ireland present their research in a series of concise, rapidly paced talks consisting of 3 slides, in 3 minutes. Open to the public, this event showcases current world-class research happening in Ireland via bite-sized chunks including preliminary heats and a showcase national final. The project will continue its expansion and will actively target more institutes of technology across Ireland and encourage students from these centres to take part in the preliminary heats. The heats will be held in cities around Ireland including Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick ensuring that Thesis in 3 is a truly national event, reaching new and diverse audiences. In addition there will be an online, virtual heat that will be open to any STEM researcher in Ireland who cannot access a preliminary heat, ensuring that researchers from all over the country can enter the competition. The project will also provide science communication training workshops all over Ireland.

National

€15,850

Regional or National Programmes

Organisation

Project Title

Website

Project Summary

Target Region

Science Foundation Ireland Contribution

STEPS, Engineers Ireland

Engineers Ireland STEPS programme – 2016 & 2017: Engineering Futures

www.steps.ie 

This year the STEPS programme will ramp up its coordinated campaign to promote STEM careers, support STEM education and drive awareness of STEM careers among the general public. Working under the Smart Futures programme, STEPS will support Science Foundation Ireland’s twin aims of aligning industry outreach resources, and driving the uptake of STEM subjects at second and third level. The STEPS programme will achieve its stated aims through enabling direct engagement between trained engineering volunteers at schools and career events across the country, with the target of making a volunteer available to interact with every school that makes such a request by the end of 2016.

National

€420,000*

CALMAST, Waterford Institute of Technology

Maths Week Ireland

www.mathsweek.ie/2015

Maths Week Ireland promotes awareness of the importance and usefulness of maths among the public, supporting maths education and careers in maths. The vision of Maths Week Ireland is to develop a positive attitude towards mathematics. Activities take place nationwide in October, with the hopes of engaging the disengaged.

National

€120,000*

Cork Electronic Industries Association

Steering Youth to STEM (SYSTEM)

www.systemcoalition.org

Steering Youth to STEM (SYSTEM) led by the Cork Electronics Industry Association, aims to encourage young people to get excited by the potential career paths available to them both here and abroad through the pursuits of a STEM education. The programme aims to encourage students to pursue STEM related career options, particularly technical/engineering activities. The programme will include maths tutorials, a transition year work experience programme, introduction to electronics for 2nd level teachers, robot competitions and Arduino programming workshops. 

Munster

€48,557

Irish Universities Association

Campus Engage Participate Programme - Building STEM capacity in Community-based Learning

www.campusengage.ie 

Campus Engage Participate Programme - Building STEM Capacity in Community-Based Learning aims to develop the capacity of higher educational staff and civil society organisations (CSOs) to incorporate community based learning (CBL) processes, methods and curricula along with CSOs work plans. Community-based learning and research are forms of experiential education with a public engagement underpinning. Therefore, students gain academic credit for the learning they derive from the engagement, and reflect on the experience with community stakeholders. Staff or tutors provide support by guiding students through structured reflective activities, encouraging the integration of theory with public engagement.

National

€33,998

SciFest Ltd

SciFest

www.scifest.ie 

SciFest is a STEM initiative with significant impact designed to promote STEM in schools and amongst the wider public. SciFest’s mission is to provide an inclusive and accessible platform, for students in Irish schools to explore the STEM disciplines in an investigative way and to present their findings to a wider audience, thus supporting the development of key skills including critical thinking, problem-solving, communications and collaboration. It aims to encourage a love of STEM through active, collaborative inquiry -based learning, and be highly accessible to its target audience. The SciFest programme consists of a series of one-day science fairs which provide a forum for students to present and display their scientific investigations and compete for prizes and awards.

National

€200,000*

Waterford Institute of Technology

CALMAST STEM Outreach Hub for Southeast of Ireland

www.calmast.ie 

The CALMAST STEM Outreach Hub for Southeast of Ireland project is a resource at Waterford Institute of Technology set up to leverage greater partnerships and funding to implement a new stage of STEM delivery across the Southeast region. The project proposes new activities and will build a framework to allow greater and sustained engagement with target audiences.

Regional (Southeast)

€50,000